Totem Forest Signature v. Joseph Audio Profile

I'm considering upgrading my medium size tower speakers.  I'm unable to audition due to location so I've been reading a lot about various brands and models that would seem to suit me.  Both the Totems and Joseph Audios are described as having very good quality components and workmanship; and as having a "holographic" sound. I think either one would work well in my space and with my amplification.  Any opinions, suggestions or comments about one over the other are. appreciated.

Yes both the Totem brand and the Joseph brand do "holographic" sound.
The difference I would say is that the JA speakers tend to be more accurate, closer to flat, and thus more "neutral" sounding.  The Totems tend to have the "Totem dip" in the upper mids, which gives some of that nice distant soundstaging.  But it also gives Totem that particular identifiable tonal balance, where it sort of thins out and sharpens up the high end.  I find the Totem sound to be superficially attractive, but just too obviously colored for my own long term satisfaction. 

I haven't heard the Joseph Profiles, but have plenty of experience listening to the JA Pulsar and especially the Perspectives, and those speakers are trully special in terms of a grain-free, timbral beauty.  As I understand it from other listener reports and reviews, the lower priced "profile" models tend to preserve this aspect of the JA sound.

Agree that these speakers share many of the same strengths, and, frankly, I think you'll be thrilled with either.  But, if I had to make a choice, especially if I couldn't demo either before buying, I'd go with the Profiles.  Despite having similar specs, I suspect the Forests are a more demanding load on an amplifier.  Also, the Totems have an aluminum/titanium tweeter that may be fantastic, but I tend to prefer silk dome tweets that may be a little less risky sonically since you can't demo beforehand.  Lastly, JA uses that infinite slope crossover that, in every JA speaker I've heard, just has this natural coherence about it that seduces me into the music more than almost any other speaker I've heard. 

Obviously these are are my preferences that may have nothing to do with yours, but just thought I'd share what my thought process would be in case any of it helps you make your own decision.  Best of luck in whatever you choose. 

We are clearly both fans of the JA audio sound.  And yet I don't own them (yet).  I forget:  Do you own JA speakers?
Thank you. I appreciate your responses.  I've read that the Totem can be placed as close as 1 foot to the rear wall (I don't have much more than that space available).  Any idea about placement for the JA?
The Prisms are very good. I have not heard the Totems. 
I’ve read that the Totem can be placed as close as 1 foot to the rear wall (I don’t have much more than that space available). Any idea about placement for the JA?
Sure you "can" place either of these speakers one foot from the wall, but you’ll squash a lot of the holographic magic they’re capable of. If that’s your situation, you might want to look for a speaker designed to be close to the rear wall -- IMHO.  When I had a similar situation, I pulled the speakers out into the room for critical listening and pushed them back afterwards.  Kind of a PITA, but well worth the effort. 

@prof - unfortunately I do not own JA speakers either. I demoed a pair of RM25s at home a while back and have been smitten with the JA sound ever since. If my kids somehow get full college scholarships I’d have a pair of Pearls here before you could say "infinite slope."

Ha, same boat as me.  I don’t know if you followed my long thread demoing many speakers where I narrowed it down to the DeVore 0/93 or JA Perspectives.  I’d saved for over a year to buy speakers, had finally decided on the Perspectives, was just going to purchase them when one of life’s little financial surprises showed up and sucked away my saved up money. new speakers for me and back to the drawing board.   Still have the JAs in my sights for the future though!
If you go with 1 foot you'll squash a lot of life out of them.  If you can position properly, both are excellent choices.

For your guidance, I have the Totem Forest Signatures and love them. For more current insight please visit the link below. Kindest regards.


prof1, my Totem Signatures 1 's do none of the things you describe.

There are a hundred and one ways you  can make do what you say they do upstream .

Then you’ve received a golden sample where they deviated from their norm ;-)

I’ve heard many Totem speakers over the years (local dealer has sold the line as long as I can remember). And they all had that same sonic signature. A perceptible dip and a spike in the upper mids/high frequencies.

You can see how they have that dip around 4K and get a bit "spiky" at around 1K in both the measurements from Stereophile and Soundstage:

I was able to listen to the Totem Signatures 1 ’s at my pal’s home and, yup, that’s how they sounded.
As I said, it is a sort of attractive sound. I’m just too conscious of the "Totem sound" to live with them for too long.
Anyone actually heard the JA Profile?
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Yes.  I heard them a few years ago at a show. Surprisingly good. 
Why surprisingly good? Joseph Audio is a well respected brand. They don't show up used very often because owners tend to keep the speakers. That says a lot about the brand.
The same can be said about the Totem Forest Signatures. 

I actually own JA Pulsars and have heard the Profile as well.  Both have a similar house sound. Really, it's that infinite slope x-over that makes for the holographic imaging. I find, generally, that a 2 way speaker with a good subwoofer simply disappears while a 3 way often times displays directionality. That could be due to integration issues stemming from the x-over. I didn't find that to be the case with the Profiles; they sounded quite coherent from top to bottom. Can't speak about the Totems as I have not heard them. I love my Pulsars and continue to be impressed by them. I think you will enjoy the Profiles immensely ... the sound and build quality are first class all the way.
I own a pair of JA Profiles and love them. I also own a pair of JA RM-22XLs (currently for sale).Both are wonderful. The Profiles are a little more sure-footed in the bottom end. Plus the already wide soundstage of the 22's are expanded even more. Additionally, I'd say the mid-range of the Profiles are a little more detailed. Both are wonderfully musical. Both need a little breathing room from the walls and benefit from great cables (read Cardas, what Jeff Joseph always uses when showing them at various exhibitions). I would say that the 22s are a little prettier what with the Rosewood finish though the matte black finish of the Profiles are certainly pleasing. Hope this helps.